Gardening Question of the Day

What time of year do you graft pecan trees?

Grafting is generally done in the spring, using the four-flap method to propagate small seedlings and branches of larger trees. Begin grafting when the bark slips freely. Normally, this occurs in mid-April to early May, at the beginning of spring growth. Choose your variety carefully to get the best one for your location.

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How do I get rid of crabgrass in my yard?

Crabgrass tops America's list of lawn complaints. The best crabgrass preventer is a healthy, thick lawn, and soil with the proper pH balance (7.0-7.5). Perennial ryegrass is the best competition for crabgrass. It also provides some insect control, as it emits a natural poison that gives some small, damaging bugs the "flu." Fertilizing is key and must be done in the spring and in the fall. Crabgrass thrives in compacted lawns. Aeration can help. A mixture of 1 pint of hydrogen peroxide, diluted to 3 percent, per 100 square feet of lawn can help eradicate the pesky plant. Corn gluten meal, a relatively new and increasingly popular natural herbicide, appears to be successful at preventing crabgrass and other common weeds. A by-product of milling corn, it is completely benign, and in a three-year systematic approach to applying it, it can virtually eliminate crabgrass.

What is a good indoor plant for a beginner?

Spider plants, philodendrons, and snake plants are virtually foolproof. We've had good luck with dracaenas, which look like small palm trees and are quite attractive. Give them enough light, enough (but not too much) water, and an occasional dose of fertilizer.

How does a person get rid of slugs?

First, trap them. Go out to the garden in the late afternoon and lay boards or pieces of cardboard on the bare soil around your plantings. In the morning, turn over the boards and scrape the hiding slugs into a large yogurt or cottage cheese container. Cover and place in the freezer for three hours. When they're frozen stiff, dump them on your compost pile.

What is the best type of manure for our vegetable garden and when should it be applied?

Use aged chicken, cow, or horse manure in the vegetable garden. Ensure it is aged before using. The best time to apply it is fall and spring.

When is the best time to fertilize potatoes?

The best time is at blossom time or the time of second hilling.

How can I get pink or blue hydrangeas?

The pH of your soil is what determines the color of hydrangea blossoms, and you can alter the pH to get the result you want. For blue flowers, the pH has to be between 4.5 and 5.5. For pink flowers, you must raise the pH to between 7.0 and 7.5 by liming the soil. If you thought you were growing blue hydrangeas and some came out pink, a nearby concrete foundation may be the culprit.

Should I prune the lush bunches of thyme in my herb garden?

Yes, you should prune thyme heavily, taking half the length of each stem in spring and again in late summer. Use your trimmings, with some oil, to saute scallops or chicken.

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